While it may be impossible to erase the painful memories of a violent crime, Providence is easing some of the burdens victims face as they recover and rebuild their lives.
Following a violent crime, a victim may come to one of our emergency departments for medical attention but won’t feel safe enough to talk about how the injuries happened. To support victims during a time when they are most vulnerable, Providence partnered with Lutheran Community Services to help recognize and reach out to victims of violence coming to Providence Sacred Heart and Holy Family hospitals. The partnership helps victims with symptoms of trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and connects them with resources for healing and financial assistance.
Partnering to support victims
Providence has trained our ED caregivers to identify possible victims and provide referrals to the certified crime victim advocates at Lutheran Community Services. A dedicated advocate provides long-term support for vulnerable victims, regardless of their circumstances. For example, an advocate can work with victims to apply for assistance from the Washington State Crime Victim Compensation Program; find follow-up medical care with providers who accept victims’ compensation; and help with safety planning or submitting civil protection orders.
Filling the gap with 50 referrals
About 20 percent of people who get help from this program are homeless, and 55 percent have a diagnosed disability such as PTSD. Through an investment of more than $55,000 in 2015, this program fills a gap in mental health services, which was identified in our recent assessment of community health needs. With more than 50 referrals to the program last year, it has proven to be a valuable service to help victims feel safe and keep them connected to their family and community.